With more people choosing to work from home, garden home offices are becoming more popular. However it can be daunting, as there seem to be so much choice, from semi-permanent, pod structures, to state of the art wooden cabins.
However before starting there are various considerations you might need to think about:
Will I need planning permission? Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:
- No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
- Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.
- Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
- No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
- No more than half the area of land around the 'original house'* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
- In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.
- On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
- Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.
If you have any doubt we would strongly advise you to go along and chat to your local planning office.
Which type of home office will suit my garden, so that it fits in harmoniously? There are so many different types, and thinking about the style of your home and garden is an important consideration.
Mains water and waste - if you want to avoid going backwards and forwards to your home, you will need to think about putting in mains water and possibly a toilet. This might be an important consideration when planning the positioning of your outside home office, as being close to the main waste connection, could save you a lot of money. However when considering where to situate your home office you might also want to think about whether your customers will need to visit you and ease of access.
Insulation – there is nothing worse than sitting at a desk in a badly insulated workspace. Most companies offering ready-made workspaces offer triple lined walls, with 5-6 inches of insulation, which will keep you nice and warm in winter.
Security - if you will have some expensive equipment in your home office most insurers will expect you to have a home alarm, all doors to have a 5 lever lock and double glazed windows with locks, but this might vary so check with your insurance company.
Heating – are you going to centrally heat your office, either separately or as part of the main heating system, it be worth considering electric heaters or even a wood burning stove. You will probably need expert advice from a heating engineer before deciding which route to take.
Plan your space - make sure you think about which shape will suit your needs best, if you are thinking of using it as an art studio, you will need to consider having lots of light and open space.
WIFI – will you be able to have internet access in your home office, this might be very important if you plan to use a computer.
Finally, it is good to consider your long-term needs, and in the future you might want to use it for something else, so it’s always best to keep this in mind when choosing your new home office.
All the models in the photograph are available at http://www.extrarooms.co.uk/